Friday, August 3, 2012

In which I Dust off the Blog, Pay Homage to the Iron Crown and Unduly Alarm Myself

Let's See if I can Get Back Into this Blogging Thing

I haven't gamed in months! Haven't really worked on anything game related either, though I've got a campaign idea, kicking around in the back of my head. More on that, anon. Bought some stuff, though.

I.C.E., I.C.E., Baby!

Rolemaster! It's not just an RPG...

It's The Law!

Boxed set, with the three main 2nd edition books, a setting module and a little something extra, the Creature & Treasure book.

Brisco: "Can we play it?"

Me: "Yeah, but I'd rather start you out with D&D."

Brisco: "Why? Is this more complicated?"

Me: "Yeah, you can say that..."

Brisco: "Well, I don't really have to know the rules, anyway."

True dat!

Oh, No!!!

So, I open up the box and start inspecting my new, used Rolemaster books. Part of said inspection being sticking my nose into the middle of the books and giving them the sniff test, just to make sure that...


It was fairly faint. Undetectable, unless you stuck your nose right up to the pages. But there was the unmistakable odor of... something. Something that smelled too damn similar to mildew, for my comfort level.


It wasn't damp, or musty, though. Real pungent. Faint enough that my olfactory apparatus quickly filtered the odor. I couldn't quite get a handle on it. The books themselves, looked fine! No moisture damage, or staining.

Still, mold can be invisible and on your RPG items, isn't something to take lightly. That shit can spread to adjacent items! 

Oh, the Horror!!!!!

I couldn't release the Rolemaster stuff into my general collection, until I was sure it wasn't some sort of moldy growth! So, with no other option, I sought an outside opinion.

Everyone has at least one Superpower

My ex-wife has a super-sniffer. Something that's caused me no small amount of consternation, over the years. So, I consulted her and her nose.

"Can you do me a favor?"

"What?" An ex-wife can imbue a staggering amount of wariness, into that one, simple sentence.

"Smell this and tell me if it smells like mildew. I don't think it is, but..."

So, she smells it. And makes the kind of face that someone with super-olfactory powers might make, after sticking their nose into a litter box. She sniffs it again.

"Cheap ink. And a little bit of tobacco smoke."

"Cheap ink?"

"Yeah. I used to be a typesetter, remember? That's cheap ink. Very, cheap ink."

Huh. Cheap ink I can live with. My own nose completely failed to detect the cig smoke.

Le Sigh

So. I now have Rolemaster. This means, there's no reason to put off my long-planned campaign, to collect the I.C.E. Middle-Earth supplements. 


Except, I plan on finishing Judges Guild, first. I'm getting closer. :)


  1. Here's a quick and easy trick to get rid of the funk: Take the book(s) and put them into a zip-lock bag with one or two fabric softener sheets. Zip it up tight and put it aside for several weeks. When you open it up, the smell will be gone.

    I've used this trick to great effect with a few second-hand books I've bought off of two or three-packs a day smokers and it always works like a charm.

  2. Hi Michael! Cool! It's really not too obtrusive, unless you stick your nose right up to the pages. :)

  3. That's kind of weird. I have several copies of the books from that printing of Rolemaster (it's my fave version) and I don't notice any strange odor. I would guess it's a byproduct of the smoke.

    Regardless of funk, you will have no problem running RM for your son. I ran several sessions with kids under 12, some with learning and behavioral disabilities. Creating characters will take a while, but the basic mechanics are pretty simple. There are several good tools over at the ICE web site in the vault;dl=0

    Here's is a direct link to really nice character generation spreadsheet that runs in Open Office:;dl=0

  4. "Cheap ink. And a little bit of tobacco smoke."
    I've had a few adventures with buying 1980s games on Ebay, and man they sometimes stink for a while.
    Like pencil marks I believe that it is all part of the history of the boxes/books/pamphlets.

    1. Pretend that reply is one comment down. :)

  5. You could start with MERP and gently lower yourself into the hot table bath that is RM.

  6. Rolemaster was a lot of fun when we ran it, but man, if the players don't understand the Maneuvers rules and don't understand the combat rules, it's really hard.

    There is a lot of "system mastery" needed there. Once you have it, though, the game runs really smoothly. For all that my friends rag on it as "Chartmaster" the table lookups are actually really easy and fun.

    Plus, hey, Black Reavers.

  7. Stinky gaming books. I've passed on many old ones because they reeked of cigarette smoke. And one I took a whiff of nearly got me stoned from the pot smell. Good to see you getting back into gaming! And blogging!

    1. Hi Tim! I'm ok with mild smoke. And the smell from the RM books are only noticeable if you stick your face all the way in, so I'm good.

      It's the idea of mold that sends shivers up and down my spine. I've never lost anything expensive that way, but I did open up a fairly collectible non rpg book a few years ago, to find Green Slime had taken hold on one of the pages. :( No doubt, the spores were present when I purchased it. Not surprising, considering the conditions of the second hand flea market stall, where I found the thing.

      It wasn't valuable enough to worry about saving. I did like the book, though and regretted having to chuck it.

  8. Welcome back! I love the early RM stuff, too, and most of it is available at fairly low cost if you look for it. I can't imagine the prices you're going to be paying for some of the MERP stuff, though. That's normally super expensive and, with the Hobbit movies coming, likely to just get more so.

  9. Not being quite the old schooler a lot of people on here are, my first encounter with Rolemaster came after I picked up Hackmaster. I ran the pre-written adventure for a bunch of OSR chaps down at my local gaming society night and they ruddy owned me! They then told me about Rolemaster, brought it down a week later o let me take a look at it, and it was just a bit too intimidating, especially after my Hackmaster cock up. I've been looking for someone to run it since then, but GMing it myself? I don't think so.

  10. Welcome back!

    Sure you can start collecting all the MERP books. Prepare to be at it awhile...

    RM and friends are cool systems. Sure you should start a campaign, if you have players. I'd jump in any day a week!

  11. The Guild Companion is republishing some items as they track down the copyright holders and get permission. C&T 1-3 the core books and RMC1 are all available as well as bits of Shadow World.

    My saturday afternoon group wound up playing Rolemaster after we did the D&D Beta test and tehy wanted to keep meeting. So I told them we would try an old version of D&D with some 'slight' changes. a month in and they love RM2nd.

  12. I did most of the trade dress art for Rolemaster which I'm planning on posting to the blog when I get a chance (I've got scans but just need to reformat them a bit). They were the stone spell runes which appeared at the top of the various spellcaster class descriptions in the various books and supplements (RMSS, Essence Companion, Channeling Companion, Mentalism companion etc.). I've also got some drawings from the Shire module for Merp that I'll post soon as well. I took a break from blogging this summer for about four months because I was so busy with work but have been bloging regularly for the last few months (mostly RPG recaps). I noticed that I'm not longer on your 666 layers of the OSR Blogisphere listing - is there any way you can add me back on there? I'm posting again (see Tales from the Tower) and promise to post more game art goodies in the near future. THX Dan

    1. Yeah. I had problems with my widget and had to rebuild it from scratch. Lost a few blogs. Added.